April 20, 2022: TCDSB Dumps its Integrity Commissioner
TORONTO – Transparency finally made some headway at the Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB). After some procedural wranglings, lasting close to two hours, the TCDSB gave Principles Integrity (Yes, it’s a real corporate name) its walking papers.
It should not have come as a surprise. In a January meeting of the Toronto Catholic District School Board, a “stay of execution” for three months had been publicly debated and determined. Moreover, a motion directing the Staff serve Principles Integrity a “goodbye” letter and begin a request for proposals to identify potential replacement, was duly presented on the Board Agenda.
That same Agenda required trustees to consider a Report on enrolment projections for the coming year. Those projections will have negative impacts in all aspects of education at the TCDSB (accommodation, instructional staff, resources, etc.). They spent less than fifteen minutes on the item.
Back to Principles Integrity. Last November, 2021, some trustees on the Board had finally had enough of the lack of focus. They decided in their annual caucus to do some internal house-cleaning. Four trustees (Di Pasquale, De Domenico, Li Preti, Rizzo) were voted out of any position of influence in every committee.
This is not a group that will overwhelm anyone with their “class”. They responded by trying to engage the Integrity Commissioner, Principles Integrity, (IC/PI) via investigations of transgressions of the Trustee Code of Conduct, in a vendetta against one of the trustees whom they apparently considered to be the architect of the “coup”.
However, they forgot or ignored the fact that, since October 2021, the IC/PI was operating on an expired contract that had not been renewed as required by the contracting practices and protocols governing the Board. Apparently, even though there was no written contract, PI continued to receive and cash cheques for services.
Neither of the two senior Legal counsels to the TCDSB professed to know, or if they had advised the Director, to whom they report, of the matter. One counsel left the Board for more rewarding (presumably) experiences at a downtown legal firm which appears to be on speed dial with the TCDSB. The other announced his resignation from the Board, last February.
Earlier in their mandate, some trustees had begun to express serious concerns about the swelling size of the monthly legal bills from the various law firms providing the Board with services. Those amounts were allegedly in the hundreds of thousands of dollars monthly!
For “privacy reasons” they cannot be made public.
As at going on line, we had not received a response to requests for comment from Principles Integrity.
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